After racking up an impressive list of credits on stage, in front of the camera and in the recording booth over the last four decades, actor Roscoe Lee Browne has died at the age of 81. He received an Emmy for a 1984 guest starring role on The Cosby Show, and his work will live on in a number of animated TV shows and movies. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he passed away early Wednesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after a long battle with cancer.
Most recently, Browne narrated Twentieth Century Fox’s live-action/CG feature Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties and voiced the role of Dr. Anokye in episodes of the Warner Bros. Animation series Static Shock. He also played Mr. Arrow in the animated Disney flick Treasure Planet, and did spots on the cartoon series The Proud Family and The Wild Thornberrys. Fans of the 1995-1998 animated Spider-Man series will know him as the voice of Kingpin, a role he played in 30 episodes, but he also tangoed with The Dark Knight as Dr. Wataki in a 1994 installment of Batman: The Animated Series. Other big-screen voiceover gigs included Disney’s 1988 toon feature Oliver & Company and the 1995 movie Babe, which he narrated.
Born in Woodbury, New Jersey, Browne graduated from historically black Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and later taught comparative literature and French there before going on to become an Obie Award-winning stage actor. In film, he worked with the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and John Wayne. He was also world-class athelete, winning the 1951 world championship in the 800-yard dash, and a respected poet.